Wednesday, November 30, 2005


After nearly four months, my husband and I (who should really be referred to as the Lazytons) finally finished unpacking and now have a presentable living/dining area. OK, so this is due in large part to my mother-in-law and her cleaning lady, who fixed up the dirty, dusty room with crap all over the dining room table and everywhere else to look like a presentable area. We can actually have people over now, without having to have them wade through our bedroom to our messy, cat hair filled den. Now I can't stop looking at our beautiful new room.

My mother-in-law and I also had our first Greek lesson yesterday, with another one tomorrow (with a quiz!). The cleaning lady (Miss Ellie) kept admonishing my mother-in-law for speaking to me in English instead of Greek, then quizzing me herself and, realizing that I understood her, would exclaim "see, she knows! she knows!" and giggle. I also had the horrifying experience of Miss Ellie running around the apartment and pointing out everything that was dirty and that she MUST clean it. It was at that point that I officially died of embarrassment, but I was resurrected somehow.

I think my mother-in-law is actually warming up to Princeton (but not the other two cats). She admitted she is no longer afraid of him and then said "but I did not say I liked him", but I could tell perhaps he has charmed her a little bit. Princeton charms everyone, with his light fur and deep blue eyes. Of course, while they were cleaning there were constant shouts of "γάτα στο σαλόνι" (cat in the living room) which was fun for all.

I'm so happy now. We've never been so nicely settled into an apartment here before.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I have to brag a lil bit...

...and point my non-Nashvillian readers to a beautiful shot of the Nashville Customs House by pitcherlady. Nashville may not be New York, but it does some have great architecture.

The building in front of the Customs House (that you can only see part of the roof of - with the castle-like buttresses) just so happens to have been my high school.

I feel much better now

It is nice to know that someone who works for the General Services Administration of the US government has time to search Yahoo in the middle of the work day using the search string
toilet, girls, boob, jump, video.

I'm sure that was some kind of GSA research. But try as I might, I can't really put together what exactly it is they are searching for - and I probably don't want to know, either.

Never mind the Bullocks

The Sex Pistols have made the 2006 list of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Thoroughly anti-Establishment, the Sex Pistols might have objected to their induction if it had happened 30 years ago, but apparently now they are too old to fight the man.

Former Pistols lead singer Johnny Rotten once famously derided the rock and roll accolades as "a place where old rockers go to die", dubbing it the "Rock and Roll Hall of Shame".

On hearing of their impending entry, Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, now 50 and a radio DJ in Los Angeles told Reuters: "If I was 20, maybe I'd be upset (about being inducted), but it's all part of the game."

Other inductees include Black Sabbath, Lynyrd Skynyrd (both bands had been rejected 7 times! what the hell?!), Miles Davis, Blondie and Herb Alpert (it's all because of the album cover with the girl and the whipped cream, isn't it?). The official induction will take place on March 13th in New York City.

The Z’s have it

The age-old marriage problem: snoring. Generally speaking, the problem can occur from either gender, and generally I would say both partners probably snore. The thing is, the problem only lies with the partner that goes to sleep last, which in my case happens to be me.

Some nights are worse than others. The average night is filled with light to moderate snoring that I have learned, somehow, to block out. But some nights I want to scream “Oh for the love of all that is good and holy would you PLEASE SHUT UP!”, which is terribly unusual, as I generally don’t harbor such vitriol for my beloved. The sound of his snoring is a cross between an asthmatic bull, a balloon slowly losing its air, and a goat bleating underwater. There have been times when I have been awakened, terrified by this horrible sound and come to the realization that surely this is what Satan must sound like.

My husband, god love him, says all I have to do is tap him on the shoulder and ask him to turn on his side. Let’s give a run down of how that works. At first, feeling a little guilty about disturbing him, I give him a light tap and timidly say “Baby?”

Husband: Mmmmhmmm?
Me: Can you turn over on your side?
Husband: Mmmmmhmmmm

Yet, amazingly, I detect no movement whatsoever in his human form. I give it a few minutes to see if there is some sort of delayed reaction, and try again, poking him a little bit harder this time.

Me: Sweetie?
Husband: Mmmmmhmmmya?
Me: Can you please turn over on your side, you are snoring really loud.
Husband: Yayaya

Nada. Nothing. No moving, more snoring. And even louder. At this point my patience has been all but depleted. I give myself a traditional one minute cooling down time and go in for the last attempt, determined for victory. This time I pinch/poke him awake.

Husband: What?! (in a rather worried, mystified tone)

At which he turns over on his side and falls immediately back to sleep.

Wife: 3,526
Husband: 0

Monday, November 28, 2005

Advice of the day

It is probably best not to go on holiday to a country where you wouldn't want to be incarcerated.

Yea, I know most of us plan not to get arrested when we are on vacation, but innocents can be arrested (ie. Bridget Jones - The Edge of Reason) and you might get really stupid and decide to take some drugs with you (ie. Midnight Express) or just be a bit forgetful and forget to dump or use your stash before heading to the airport (um, that never happened to anyone I know).

I suppose this several limits options for holidays but seriously, I wouldn't want to be falsely arrested in a place like Indonesia. Or China. Or Afghanistan. You get my point.

Isn't that ironic?

A block of marble seems to have broken free from the front pediment of the Supreme Court building. The piece was the size of a basketball, and luckily there were no injuries. Architects and engineers are not yet sure what caused the marble break, or if it could be related to the current renovation project on the building.

The accident happened to occur two days before the Supreme Court will hear arguments on Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood - a controversial case that could elimate the requirement that abortion restrictions must include protections for women's health.

Is the building reacting to the mayhem surrounding the SCOTUS nominations? Is it symbolic of the fall of the Supreme Court? Probably not, but I sure can appreciate the irony.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The torch is lit

The Olympic flame for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy (big shout to Gia-Gina, who is living in the host city) was lit in a traditional ceremony at the Temple of Hera in the Ancient Olympia Stadium. The torch was lit by the high priestess and handed to Kosta Filippidis, the Greek champion in the high jump, who is the first torch runner. 534 people will carry the torch to its final destination at the Torino Olympic Stadium, which is ready and waiting for the start of the Winter Olympics (hopefully after having learned a few lessons from the Greek hosts last year).

I am totally ready for the Winter Olympics myself, as I love most of the events much more than those at the Summer Olympics. Plus, it is the perfect weather to hunker down in front of the T.V. with a cup of hot chocolate and watch a bunch of star athletes freezing their butts off with their spectacular performances.

I heard she can't tell time yet either

British Glamour Daily Gossip is reporting that Paris Hilton believed in Santa Claus until she was 17. At least, until some mean person told her the truth.

Just so you're clear, Paris, the Easter Bunny doesn't exist either. Sorry.

Props to Glitterati for the 411.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Well, it finally happened

I didn't think it could happen as long as I remained childless, but alas, it did. While watching a teen movie tonight I found myself identifying with the parents, and not the teen.

Ah, well.

It's all about the plugs

Our formal living room/dining room area is finally taking shape. All the boxes have been unpacked, the room has been cleaned, and it is actually presentable save for the area on and around the dining table, which contains two air conditioners that still need installing and various bits and pieces of things that have no place to go.

In preparing the room, we were searching for the plugs to see where to put things. Now, this is a big room, as big (probably a bit bigger) than our den and bedroom combined, it is nearly 50% of the space of the entire apartment, and what do we discover? It has ONE PLUG. One. Plug. A huge room, with one plug. How delightful. Yiayia had lamps that were never plugged in. I don't really know how she and papou lived with this situation for 30 some odd years, but they managed. I, however, cannot.

The irony is, every other room in this apartment has two or more plugs, and the other rooms are much, much smaller. Even the hallway has a plug for god's sake.

Now I admit to being slightly plug obsessed. But hey, we are a plugged in household. We need plenty of plugs for basic survival.

My biggest nightmare is that the electrician will come and tell us there is nothing he can do. But surely that won't happen. It can't happen. I need more plugs!!!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Rain + ancient foundations = quicksand for the Parthenon?

OK all you Nashvillians, don't panic, I am not talking about the Nashville Parthenon. Centennial Park ain't sinking, and your gold-plated Athena is still standing tall.

What I am talking about is the real Parthenon, you know, the ancient one. It seems an archaelogical professor in Athens has claimed that rainfall has weakened the foundations of the entire Acropolis, and has caused some "peripheral distortion" (no, I don't know what that means) to the foundations of the Parthenon.

The Culture Ministry has come back with a statement saying that there is no danger to the Acropolis monuments and that temporary panelling of the flooring of the Parthenon has kept the foundation fully sealed for the past 23 years.

At the same time, samples were taken from various depths and places in the flooring and laboratory tests were conducted, in order to inspect the sinter stones that make up the foundations of the monument. The surveys revealed that the infrastructure of the Parthenon is solid and the underlying limestone is quite resilient to disintegration.

"As soon as the restoration works at the Parthenon are concluded, the temporary panels will be removed and any gaps in the flooring will be filled with new marble slabs, while a new inspection will take place to implement added protective measures if needed," was also noted in the announcement.

See, nothing to worry about. But I seriously hope this isn't just a case of the typical Greek "aww, it will be ok, we are taking care of it" attitude only to find in several years that the ancient monuments are indeed sinking into the earth. Only time will tell, I suppose.

That 70's country

My husband and I have been watching the first season of The Bob Newhart Show. My husband had never seen it (well, yea, it started before he was born) and I thought he might appreciate the psychological nuances of the show since he is specializing in psychiatry.

It is striking how similar the home decorating tastes of the early 70's are to the home decorating tastes of the modern Greek home. The Greeks spend so much money remodelling - you'd think they could get things more up-to-date.

What I'm thankful for

Forget my list of thankfulness from the other day. I'm thankful that Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey finally admitted their marriage is over. Now can we quit hearing about them please?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Get ready for Buy Nothing Day

Buy Nothing Day is scheduled for tomorrow, November 25th in America and International Buy Nothing Day is scheduled for Saturday, November 26th in Europe.

Firstly, real stupid having such a day on the "big sale" day after Thanksgiving. Secondly, um, how can we be good little consumers if we don't buy anything? Oh, wait. Apparently that is the point of Buy Nothing Day. It gives us a break from being good little consumers! It teaches us how to curb our consumerism (wow, great title for a T.V. show!). And having it on the heaviest shopping day will show those money grubbing bastards how we aren't going to take it anymore!

Can you imagine if noone did buy anything on these days? It could destroy the economy, and not in a good way. Some corporations might take an unrecoverable hit. Some people might lose their jobs. And shopaholics everywhere would be hospitalized with the shopping version of DTs.

The sad reality is there is no way people won't stop shopping. People the world over have proven themselves willing to pay any price for anything. Consumerism keeps us happy. It keeps us from trouble. It gives us something to lose. It is the soma of our brave new world.

Buyer, beware.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Instead of pigging out silly on turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie, I'm catching up on laundry and watching E! (I only get to watch E! when my husband works his shifts). It is easy to forget it is a holiday when you keep busy.

It is so weird living overseas during traditional American holidays, especially the 4th of July and Thanksgiving. It is almost offensive that other countries don't recognize our holidays, proving that I am the atypical me-me-me American. Of course, not that Greeks need even MORE holidays. They already get quite a few.

Anyway, happy Thanksgiving to those that are celebrating.

Cry me a river

Should it bother me to pay 3 euros for a glass of orange juice in a trendy cafe/bar? Cuz it does.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here!

Ok, so it isn't really phonebooks, it is books, and I probably give The Jerk much more credit than it deserves. I guess we all deserve a couple of really stupid movies that make us laugh.

Five shiny new books arrived from Amazon today, and my husband and I are already fighting over who gets to read what first.

The Stand
In the Hand of Dante
In Cold Blood
The Plot Against America
The Naked Sun

I'm still working my way through the Bridget Jones extravaganza (thanks to my sister-in-law) so I told my husband he can read whatever he wants.

Sometimes, I'm a good wife.

EDIT: He chose In Cold Blood. Now lets see how long it takes him to read it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

It's the thought that counts, I suppose

Greece will be instituting a new immigration law as of 2006, and of course, Greeks in power are quite proud of their accomplishment. Only time will tell if the new law will truly benefit immigrants and Greeks alike, but for now, it is the plans for the future I'm worried about.

In this article, the ever optimistic Greek Minister of the Interior says that

the full integration of immigrants in Greek society will gradually lead to the acquirement of political rights.

While I am all for political rights for long term immigrants, I don't happen to fancy the Greek voting system. In Greece, voting isn't a right, it is a requirement. The last big election took place when my husband and I were living on Kos, and since you are required to report to your district (in my husband's case, Thessaloniki) to vote, my husband had to engage in some heady red tape to allow him to vote in our neighborhood on Kos. It was relatively painless for him, since he is in the military, but I don't really appreciate a country that forces its citizens to vote in every election yet makes it as hard for them as possible.

Now, I do understand the other side. Greece isn't a big country and it is pretty important that its citizens show up to vote. But I also believe in the right to abstain, if you bloody well want to. Obviously, those who choose to abstain have no rights to bitch about resulting politics, but hey, that's their political karma. I agree that voting not only should be a right but a responsibility, but it should not be mandatory. And the country has a responsibility to make it easy for people to cast absentee ballots when out of their district.

Now, if they simply gave long term immigrants the right to vote, but did not make it mandatory, then I suppose that is ok. But that wouldn't exactly be fair to Greek citizens now, would it?


Did you know that some people actually eat fictional cartoon characters we've known and loved since children? It seems that kangaroo meat is a major export for Australia, countries such as Belgium, France, Russia and Germany love to eat Winnie the Pooh's marsupial friend. It has gone to such a level that Australian authorities have launched a contest for a new (tasty and discreet) name for kangaroo meat. Apparently, Australians get offended when they see their national symbol listed on menus, and the industry felt it befitting to find a more amenable name to boost domestic sales.

Also on the menu in the kangaroo meat industry? Ready-to-eat marsupial dinners. Yum!


I'm in a foul mood today due to the following:

It is really cold and really wet outside. And I'm certain because of the weather I feel absolutely blah.

Our upstairs neighbors, the Yellingtons, who have been known to have loud arguments at 2am yet still decided to tell us to keep it down when my husband was reading Harry Potter aloud at midnight and at another time they yelled at us to keep it down at 3pm (normal siesta time here) are doing what appears to be a major remodelling. This major remodelling does not stop at the normal siesta time. It does not stop at all. Next time they want us to keep it down, they can just deal with it.

Our living room/dining room area is getting cleaned at 4pm tomorrow, which means we need to finish emptying the last box and arrange the room. The problem is, that area of the apartment is not heated, and even if it was, the apartment right next to it also happens to be going through a major remodelling and thus is open to the elements, making it nearly impossible to heat the area.

I have to pee in a bucket until tomorrow morning so some tests can be run on my kidney function. Peeing in a bucket isn't fun.

My husband works a 24 hour shift on Thursday, which means I will be alone in a foreign country on Thanksgiving Day.

The only good thing? My husband is off until his shift Thursday, so there has been lots of time to snuggle and keep warm with him and three snuggly kitties.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Thank god for cabin pressure

In another stunning blow for evolution, a French woman has pled guilty to endangering the safety of an aircraft after she attempted to open the airplane door midflight to have a smoke. The woman claims to have a fear of flying, and so she had drunk alchohol along with downing sleeping pills before the flight. Her industrious lawyer claims the defendant has no recollection of what happened, and added that her client also has a history of sleepwalking. Yes, I've no doubt that she sleepwalked her way to the door, cigarette and lighter in hand, thinking she was just at the office and stepping outside for a smoke.

I suppose it is a good thing that the doors won't open when airborne, because you just never know what kind of moron might needing some fresh air.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

VH1 Top 100 Power Ballads

The music that will be playing when I am in hell.


Cyn from Reboot: A New Life in Italy tagged me for this Thanksgiving list. It is surprisingly difficult to narrow things down to two ten item lists.

10 Superficial Things I Am Thankful For:

Television. Movies. Music. Art. Literature. Dance. (all that counts as ONE thing. My rules)

Chocolate. My body requires chocolate for survival.

Crushes. I like looking at beautiful people (men AND women). I get crushes. It has nothing to do with sex or even wanting a relationship with that person. I get celebrity crushes all the time, even though I am 36 years old. It is fun. It keeps me young. And I hope I still get them when I am 96.

Air conditioning. I can live without it, but I really don’t want to.

Typing. The fact that I can type. Fast. Really fast. And not hunt and peck typing either.

The internet. It connects us all. It causes drama. It is a great resource for information and disinformation.

I am a really, really good procrastinator. I am also handy at wasting time, which is pretty much the same thing.

Being a night owl. It is actually a really inconvenient attribute, but I love it nonetheless.

Christmas lights. Love them year round. Can’t get enough of them.

Cosmopolitan magazine. It is vain, it is shallow, it is stupid. But it is so fun to read.

10 Things I am Truly Thankful For:

Diversity. That there are so many different people in the world, of different cultures, different personalities, different everything. Everyone has a story, and every story is interesting.

Beauty. In everything, everywhere. In the sky, in the sea, in the mountains, in animals, in flowers, in people.

Life in Greece. Well, I was a regular old homebody in America. I hardly ever traveled anywhere, and when I did, it wasn’t far. There isn’t one person who knew me (including me) that expected I would ever move to a foreign country. Greece is beautiful, it has opened my mind, and now I can be a homebody in Greece instead of America.

My education. I was lucky to have the opportunity to attend top level schools in grade school and high school, with teachers who dedicated their lives to making education interesting and informative for us. The professors I had in college were intelligent, interesting, and supportive.

My cats. They’ve kept me warm when I was cold, kept me company when I was lonely, and gave me a reason to get up everyday when I was down.

My friends. I have a small circle of very close friends who are the most interesting, wonderful people I have ever known.

My parents. They’ve been supportive of me always, they bore the news of my marrying a Greek man and moving to Greece with aplomb (except for asking if they have to give my in-laws a goat or something as a dowry), they love me unconditionally (and believe me, I was a pain in the ass), and they send me care packages.

My brothers. They are both so much older than I am, it was hard to get to know them. But they’ve become friends and been so supportive of me in my adult life (as opposed to my childhood, when they always teased me and picked on me!). They both married wonderful women who I love and one of them even provided me with a smart and sassy niece.

My in-laws. What can I say? I couldn’t have dreamed of having better in-laws. Smart, educated, funny, caring. They immediately accepted me as one of the family even though I’m a crazy American. They’ve become my friends and my family, and made the transition to life in Greece so much easier.

My husband. Who would have thought I could find the most wonderful man in the world? Someone who accepts me for who I am, the good AND the bad. Someone who calls me out on my bullshit. Someone who loves me unconditionally and without pause, and someone I love more than I ever thought myself capable of loving.

I won't tag anyone else, since Thanksgiving is almost here. But if you feel like making your own list, have at it.

The positives of my husband working a 24-hour shift

  • no Microsoft Flight Sim sounds (airplanes, air controllers, all the weird, geeky online world of Microsoft Flight Sim that honestly kinda creeps me out, sorry honey)
  • extra money
  • I get to catch up on Alias. We are a season behind here, but so far the fourth season has been much better than the third. Stronger storylines that are limited to each episode, not one long stupid storyline. But, after the third season my husband simply can't tolerate the show anymore, so I have to tape it and watch it when he is working. Plus I get the bonus of drooling over Michael Vartan without my husband making gagging sounds.
  • I get to continue watching the first season of The West Wing, a show my husband constantly mocks because it has the benevolent president who has a solution for everything.
  • The cats have a field day, because they behave for him but not for me

See, I'm just trying to make the best of it. Yea, I'd rather have him home but this is the reality of being married to a doctor. It could be worse, he could be specializing in the U.S. and working ALL the time.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Um, ok

Via Busymom:

Today is World Toilet Day. What is World Toilet Day, you ask?

The purpose of this day is to have people in all countries to take action, to increase awareness of toilet user's right to a better toilet environment, and to demand for it from the toilet owners. As such, it is also the toilet user's duty to contribute towards its maintenance, cleanliness and hygiene.

The irony is, I am cleaning the toilet right now as I read this. I shit you not (no pun intended, ok, maybe intended a little bit). I put the cleaning stuff in and am waiting the obligatory 10 minutes before flushing. Only 10 minutes is probably turning into 20.

It also happens to be National Ammo Day (U.S. only). What is National Ammo Day, you ask?

The goal of National Ammo Day is to empty the ammunition from the shelves of your local gun store, sporting goods, or hardware store and put that ammunition in the hands of law-abiding citizens. Make your support of the Second Amendment known--by voting with your dollars!

There are an estimated 75 MILLION gun owners in the United States of America. If each gun owner or Second Amendment supporter buys 100 rounds of ammunition, that's 7.5 BILLION rounds in the hands of law-abiding citizens!

7.5 billion rounds in the hands of law-abiding citizens. Well, thats nice, but it is the however many billion rounds that are the hands of non-law-abiding citizens I am worried about.

Holy cold temperatures, Batman!

I can be realistic. I mean, I know it is the middle of November. And yes, temperatures have been slowly dropping here. But sheesh, today is cold. I don't think it topped 50° (10° C) today. It probably feels more intensely cold because it is crazy lady windy out there. And since my husband is busy being a doctor all night tonight, it means three cats stick to me like magnets, which isn't so bad, but gosh, sometimes you gotta move around. Not to mention, I am a cheap ass when it comes to turning on the heat. Sure, the minute the temperature surpasses 75° in the spring I'm turning the A/C on, but the heat only comes on when I start to see my breath and little icicles are hanging off the cats' whiskers. I HATE heat. It dries out my skin, my eyes, makes me itcy, blech. But I can't deny how good it feels when I'm freezing.

And the neighbor's cheap ass windchimes have been going off ALL DAMN DAY. It sounds like the friggin' Salvation Army Santa is ringing his damn bell non-stop right next door. I swear I am going to take garden shears and reach over and chop those things down, even if it means possible death by falling 6 floors.

Fun at the 402

I was at my husband's hospital today to have my yearly checkup. The army hospitals here are so drab, yet quite odd in some Lynchian way. The current army hospital in Thessaloniki doesn't quite resemble a hospital at all, it bears more resemblence to a compound where cult members might hoard weapons and drink spiked punch and get burned alive in a failed attempt by the ATF to oust its members. The serpentine hallways were bustling with daytime activity but I'd imagine quite eerie in the stillness of night.

I watched an orderly who was pushing a woman in a wheelchair. She had a cast on her left foot, and as he lurched her through a doorway, he not so subtlely slammed her injured foot on the door. So it isn't just fodder for cheesy television shows.

To the guy who was sitting a few chairs down from me as I was waiting for my husband to finish up his work: yes, I realize I was reading Bridget Jones' Diary, in English, and the copy had the stupid stars of the movie on the cover. It just so happens I hadn't read it before, my sister-in-law had bought this copy and passed it along to me, and it made for perfect reading while waiting at the hospital. I also realize that my husband is a doctor at the hospital, yet he and I were conversing in English. Imagine that! Still, the fact that you stared at me for at least 5 minutes without blinking is indicative of some mental or health problem, hopefully the reason you were at the hospital in the first place. Your eyes were beginning to bug out, though, like a frog on LSD, so I hope you appreciated the evil look I gave you that set you back to staring at the floor.

Having a husband who is a doctor at the hospital makes it really easy for me to skip the inevitable lines of groaning officers' wives who didn't manage to marry a man as important as a doctor. Not that I am bragging, or anything, but officers' wives are an evil, cruel bunch. The wives of the doctors (who I guess also happen to be officers) seem much more mellow. Or maybe I just haven't encountered them "in action" yet.

I miss U.S. hospitals, although I certainly don't miss U.S. hospital prices.

Friday, November 18, 2005

This is what happens when you live in the city

In August, my husband and I drove to IKEA, where we purchased the Best Mattress Ever. We found a nifty parking spot right outside our building and haven't had occasion to drive anywhere since. My husband can walk or take a bus to his hospital (which is down the street a ways and has no parking) and I don't have anywhere to go that I can't get to on foot in this neighborhood.

My husband had to get something out of the glove compartment today, and noticed that the automatic locks didn't unlock the other locks. Oops. Battery death. How tragic.

Our poor little car doesn't get enough love and attention. We haven't even been able to come up with a suitable name for her, even though we've had her for two years now. A year ago she was loved daily, trips to the grocery store, trips across town, up and down that majestic mountain called Olympus. And now she's given up. Lost the will to keep going. We'll revive her, of course, but I suspect she won't ever be the same. Not until we move into our house in the 'burbs. There she'll have a smaller mountain to climb, but she'll have a view of the sea. And she will be loved and needed every day.

I'm sorry car. Please forgive us?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

New term

Asshold: the number of asses per household

We have 5. Three animal, two human.

Um, no, no, and definitely no

There is a new service that condenses classic works of literature into text messages, ostensibly so that students can "review" the books quickly and easily before exams. Why am I opposed to such a practice? Let me count the ways...

Well, we all know what happens with some students and the ever popular Cliff's Notes. (No, I won't provide you with a link to any Cliff's Notes because I don't approve of them) For those of you who don't know, Cliff's Notes condense the plot of major literary works, give some analysis, and some students have ended up copying them word for word on papers, exams, and reading the Notes instead of the book. Now, not only will we have students only reading text message condensations of books, we are going to have them spelling things on exams in text message-y ways.

For example, Hamlet's famous line: "To be or not to be, that is the question" becomes "2b? Nt2b? ???".

Sure, that won't annoy me much.

"Whilst some may argue that Dickens is really too big a morsel to be swallowed by text, the Great Inimitable himself began working life as a short hand writer," said Professor John Sutherland of University College London, who is backing the project.

"He would, I suspect have approved of the brevity if nothing else."

Yes, text messages are exactly like shorthand. Shorthand on crack, maybe. How would Dickens, Mr. I'm-So-Verbose-I-Can-Make-Opening-A-Door-Take-Two-Pages, approve of the brevity? I think he was championing against brevity in his books.

The professor has compressed entire plots and believes it offers immense educational opportunities.

Yes, I am sure it offers immense educational opportunities to his pocketbook. I don't know what offends me more, the fact that someone came up with this at all or the fact that one of the people involved in this project is a University professor.

So if you ask me 2b or Nt2b, I think I'll go with Nt2b.

Say goodbye

Well, I didn't know they had made a TV version of the 1977 classic film The Goodbye Girl. After watching 15 minutes of the remake, I have to ask why they remade it. The remake was horribly embarrassing, almost like watching a train wreck. The stars in the latter version, Jeff Daniels and Patricia Heaton, seemed to be simply aiming to imitate their predecessors, Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason. They did an extremely awkward job of it. I had to cover my eyes a few times.

Well, I guess I had said I was looking for a really good horror film. I got my wish.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Too much pride, a bit of prejudice

The Jane Austen Society of North America is up in arms about the latest film version of Austen's 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice.

They list a phalanx of complaints about director Joe Wright's movie version of the novel, including the inappropriate features of the actor playing Mr. Darcy, in-your-face sexual imagery, "lame" dialogue and Keira Knightley's posture.

"The film is full of sexual imagery, which is totally inappropriate to Austen's novel. In one scene, a wild boar, which I assume is supposed to represent Darcy, wobbles through a farm with its sexual equipment on show."

Well, it is Hollywood. A movie has to sell. And while I tend to enjoy Jane Austen's works, film audiences might not. Look at what they did in the movie Troy. (Or rather, DON'T look at it)

And the director's response to all this hubbub?

"They can go jump in a lake," Wright, I'm told, advises NPR L.A. correspondent Kim Mastersfor her piece on "Morning Edition."

Wright sniffs that he's not interested in "quibblers," adding that he didn't make the film for them. "I made it for myself, really," he reportedly reveals.

Well there ya go. If you want a film portrayal of a novel to be true to the original, make it yourself. Otherwise, stick to the book.

Aww, still no lap dances in Metro

It seems the Metro Council (in Nashville) decided not to repeal Metro's ban on lap dances. The sponsor of the bill (from Forest Hills, no less) withdrew the proposal and said he would file a modified bill at a later time.

Honestly, I had no idea lap dances were illegal in Nashville. If my male friends who visit strip clubs are any indication, there have been some lap dances given here and there over the years.

But we all know that allowing strippers to straddle customer's laps crosses a line. I'm sure it leads to instant prostitution. Thank god we have the Metro Council to protect us.

I'm not sure you can do that in time-lapse

Someone happened on my blog searching for "vagena develop before your eyes". Now I'm not sure what they are aiming for, but I've never heard of a vagina development video. That would take what, 15 years?

Somehow I'm also on the search for "men who like to wear women's underwear". I've raided my husband's closet and found nothing. Ah well.

Five hits a day for national boob and beer holiday. Which is nice, I know that is coming from my last web search post. But really, how did it start? I don't have a problem with the holiday, I think it is a fine idea, and perhaps it should even be international. But I am not privvy to the details of said holiday.

Oh, and by the way, there is a Nicole from Tennessee who has a porn site, apparently. Just thought I'd let y'all know.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Wow. Now I know why I always had a crush on him

John Cusack wrote a wonderful article at The Huffington Post. Here is a small sample:

How depressing, corrupt, unlawful and tragically absurd the administration's world view actually low the moral bar has been lowered...and (though I know I'm capable of intellectually lazy notions of collective guilt) how complicit our silence as citizens is...Nixon, a true fiend, looks like a paragon of virtue next to the criminally incompetent robber barons now raiding the present and future.

It gets even more provocative, as he quotes Hunter S. Thompson, Bill Moyers, and Dr. Martin Luther King. Very well written. Bravo, John.

Props to Crooks and Liars for providing the link.

This is what happens when married people discuss porn

Tonight my husband and I were watching Porn to Rock & Rap on VH1. This is the resulting conversation:

Husband: Oh, that’s pretty funny. Maybe if they made porn without the porn it would be entertaining.

Me: The porn part can be pretty funny sometimes.

Husband: Yea, but I don’t want to see certain things. No up the ass, for instance.

Me: Just for the men or the women too?

Husband: Both. I have no ass preference. Nothing goes up.

Damn their egos!

A couple of years ago, there was an interview with Chris Martin, the lead singer of the band Coldplay, where he made some comment about how great a band they were. The comment was something along the lines about making a soundtrack for the world, or something, and it would all be Coldplay songs. Now, I had liked their song Yellow but hadn't heard the rest of the album, and I thought perhaps he was being a bit too big for his britches.

Well, goddamn him, perhaps he was right. My husband and I really enjoyed A Rush of Blood to the Head and now and we are really, really enjoying X&Y. What makes them so good? Solid songwriting, beautiful melodies, excellent instrumentation. These boys really are musicians, not pretty boys made into a band and mixed with all the sound enhancing effects a soundboard can muster. Their ability really sounds off in the harmony at the end of the song Fix You. It is as if they are channelling Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Fantastic. Damn them for being so good. Damn them all!

And by the way, what exactly is James Blunt doing? I don't mind his first single, but come on! We can all see you are just trying to imitate Coldplay. Even the video is almost the same as the one for Yellow! Too lame.

December 1st, 2005: Blog about Racism Day

December 1st happens to be the 50th anniversary of Rosa Parks' act of "civil disobedience", and so has been deemed "Blog about Racism Day".

Which is all a very long-winded way of declaring December 1, 2005 - the 50th anniversary of Rosa Parks' heroic act of civil disobedience on that Montgomery bus - "Blog Against Racism" day, in which people post something on the very broad and complex subject of racism. You don't need to have a political blog to participate. Race, after all, affects almost every aspect of life in one way or another. Your post might be literary in nature, or historical, or concern current issues in need of political attention. You might take the opportunity to debunk scientific racism, or write poetry or essays about personal experiences, uplifting or depressing.

With luck, the discussion engendered will endure past midnight on December 2.

To participate, announce the date in your blog sometime soon to encourage others to take part. And then on December 1, 2005, Blog Against Racism!

Simple enough! Spread the word.

Will Time jump the shark?

It seems that Time magazine is currently in discussions on who will be Person of the Year for 2005. While I realize it can't be an easy choice each year, and sometimes they take a lot of heat for their decisions, the fact that they are even considering Hurricane Katrina, under the guise of "Mother Nature", as Person of the Year is, well, stupid.

"Katrina gets you to Iraq. It gets you to petroleum. It gets you to presidential politics," Williams said. "It has laid bare so many cracks and fissures in our system."

Yes, I accept the impact Katrina had on the U.S., and how that impact spilled over worldwide. I understand that "Mother Nature" also hit hard with the earthquake in Pakistan. But to assume that these natural disasters are a topical thing that only affects 2005 is a bit shortsighted. What happens if (or when) the world sees even greater natural disasters next year? What if there is a harsher hurricane, a more devastating earthquake, a fatal tsunami, a huge volcanic eruption?

Now, I would totally stand behind nominating a person (or people) involved in the rescue efforts of Katrina, or the earthquake in Pakistan, or whatever, for Person of the Year. But let's not assume Katrina will be the one big storm we encounter in the years to come.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The doctor is in

My parents occasionally send us tapes of new U.S. shows they enjoy. On one of the most recent ones, they included an episode of House, M.D., and my husband and I were instantly hooked. It was nice, for once, to see a medical show that wasn't filled with hospital doctor/nurse/orderly relationship drama and that focused more on the "detective" work of diagnosing illnesses.

We recently acquired the first season of the show, and have been watching a couple of episodes a day. Unfortunately, such frequent viewing of such a show can cause nightmares, hypochondriac episodes, and other discomfort. But the best thing about watching a show like this is watching it with a doctor.

At first, my husband's involvement in the show, was quiet. A few guesses of diagnoses here and there and an occasional remark about how something was incorrect (you don't treat suchandsuch with soandso, etc.). We are now about halfway through the first season, and my husband is now resorting to such comments as "who in the hell is their medical advisor on this show??" and "if his creatnine was 13, he'd be dead". Not only that, but he has devolved into shouting (yes, I said shouting) diagnoses at the T.V. at random.

At first I was annoyed, but now I am amused. It is a lot of fun hearing a doctor yell at the television. And who knows, if there was a show about, hmm, people teaching Literature, I might do some yelling myself. You never know.

Die Hard

Bruce Willis, who once offered a bounty on Saddam Hussein's head, is now offering $1 million to any civilian who turns in Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, or Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

So what is he going to do? Is he going go all John McClane on them? Walk around calling them bitch? Perhaps he will make Die Hard: IV with them, giving it a nice, real world edge.

I'd pay to see that.

Better than Seven?

My husband and I watched Saw tonight, and the Greek translation, in big bold letters is:


Which means, "I see you", which isn't entirely the point of the English title, but I guess it works in its own stupid/clever way. Even so, I have a grand temptation to call any type of saw σε βλεπω now, just to be annoying.

My husband rented it, remembering my desire for horror, and due to a colleague's (an oncology resident, no less) review that it was "better than Seven". He was, of course, intrigued by this description, because we are both quite fond of Seven, although neither of us had very high hopes going into our viewing of Saw.

My first thought, of course, is what in the hell happened to dear Westley, because Carey Elwes has strayed so far from his famous role, and so badly, that is rather heartbreaking to watch. The last thing I saw him in was X-Files, where he played the completely annoying Assistant Director Follmer, but at least it was decent acting. In Saw he had too much makeup and too much to whine about. High pitched, annoying whining. Do I care about a character who is that irritating? Nope.

My second thought was, oh my god, I am stuck in a never ending Nine Inch Nails video. Which is perhaps one of the clues as to why this movie was so popular. The direction, the cinematography, the look, all custom tailored for the current MTV generation. Bravo. Lucky the director went for a percentage instead of an up front paycheck, eh?

To the nitty gritty of the movie, well, I couldn't bring myself to care less about any of the characters. Not even the little girl. That is saying something, because I am often easily roped in to some kind of emotion for somebody. Not this time. The killer even left something to be desired. I wasn't scared. I didn't get any gothic chills. I couldn't appreciate the setting. It was a completely empty shell.

Without giving much in the way of spoilers, the point of the killer in this movie is to put people up to moral/personal challenges while suffering and facing certain death. The one scene that has any redeeming factor on any level (small spoiler here) is one where a woman, in order to save her own life, has to kill someone. Well, that can offer forth some interesting discussions on morality, which perhaps was part of the point of the whole movie, but the rest of the cases did not prove as interesting in that regard. Is our need for survival greater than our need to be moral?

Needless to say, I am not planning on seeing Saw II.

And no, it was not even close to being better than Seven.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

And now, a look of permanent surprise...

Botox injections are now allowed in Greece with a doctor's prescription. Now Greek women (and men) will be able to inject toxins into their faces. So what if it is poison, it will make you look younger, and feel younger too!


Accidental strangulation by dangling Venetian or Roman blind cords can be prevented!

That is good to know.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Tomorrow we are having lunch with the in-laws. It is a good thing, because it is a free meal and saves us the excruciating pain of figuring out what to eat. The biggest bonus is that my mother-in-law is an excellent Greek cook, despite her busy schedule. Someday perhaps I will learn her secret, but I think it might be an ability that is somehow acquired after you have children.

What I am not looking forward to is the revelation of why my husband and I, after three months, have not managed to finish unpacking and setting up the living/dining area. The simple response to this is: we're lazy, and we'd rather do other things with our time. Not to mention it is a completely separate area of the house that we don't need for day to day living, so we don't think about it that much. Except when my mother-in-law starts talking about coming over to give me Greek lessons.

Now, I am perfectly happy with the idea of her giving me Greek lessons. I am perhaps a bit shy about it, but I think she will be a good teacher. The issue is the fact of her coming here and her extreme dislike for our cats, which is the whole reason to have a completely separate living/dining area, so we can have guests who won't be bothered by pesky, attention-seeking felines and their shedding hair.

So here we are. She is ready to start the lessons. I am ready to start having the lessons. But, since it is more convenient for her to pop over here after her morning appointments, we don't yet have a space to have the lessons. And the fact that it has been three months since we moved in makes it all the more embarrassing.

Tomorrow, after lunch, the father-in-law is to come back with us and help taking down the rest of yiayia's stuff and help my husband move some things out of the way so we can set up the sitting area and get a woman in here to clean up nicely, because the whole area is filthy. I feel a bit bad that my father-in-law has to be involved, but as my mother-in-law said to me, "Don't wait for Thanos to do it, because he will keep saying later. You make the plans and we will get it done".

So there you go. We'll see tomorrow what gets done. For the record, I'm not holding my breath.

I am SO ready to be on Alias

I have BusyMom to thank for this time wasting activity today.

Mechanical Electronic Lifeform Used for Sabotage, Infiltration and Nocturnal Assassination

Click here if you want to waste your time doing the same thing.

Etiquette for blog comments

Not that I've ever had any problems here (aside from the occasionally spammer), but Lifehacker has some good tips for blog commenting. It is a couple months old, but thought I'd share anyway.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Separated at birth???

George Clooney and Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Abdullah Gül

What has Pat been smoking?

First he wants the U.S. to assassinate people. Now Pat Robertson is warning the denizens of Dover, Pennsylvania that they might soon face the wrath of God for voting out school board members who were proponents of intelligent design.

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city," Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, "The 700 Club."

"And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there," he said.

These are not the words of a rational, logical individual. Perhaps Mr. Robertson could use the diagnostic skills of House, M.D. and his team.

Just a thought.

Modern Greeks are uncultured?

Apparently so, according to a survey done by Metron Analysis, a market research and public opinion survey company located in Greece.

The survey found that Greeks would rather go clubbing or watch a DVD at home rather than read a book or attend a theatrical production. Greek knowledge of modern Greek and foreign artists is limited, and they tend to reject cultural works that they feel offend their traditional values.

Despite this, the majority of Greeks claim that culture is "everything" and "arts are the main drive of cultural expression."

Highlights magazine editor Konstantinos Noulas said "the average Greek has a low cultural level –which is inexcusably low– but these findings, regardless of how annoying they may sound, can only alarm us for the better."

Surprising data from a country that has a rich variety of ancient culture. Still, if the guise of the teenagers around me here is a telling sign of things to come, Greeks won't get any more cultured in the years to come.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

This is what happens when you set Greek drivers loose in America

Nothing much unusual about this accident. Typical Greek driving.

That's just great

Apparently, scientists have discovered that they can perhaps measure the strength of an earthquake in the first few seconds an earthquake hits, hopefully one day leading to an early warning system of sorts.

You know, that is really helpful. When a disaster only takes a few seconds to start with, having a few seconds warning is really going to make a difference. Oh look, I can run from here to across the room! Go me! I can do that the minute I feel the tremor, too. And how exactly are they going to alert everyone? Will they assume we all have T.V.s on, radios, whatever? Or will a giant voice descend from the sky booming "7.6 everyone, watch out!"

Sure, sure, I know. It gives time for equipment to be shut off, important things that can ultimately cause more destruction than the earthquake. Which is good, I can accept that, but I am really not sure it is going to do me much good knowing how strong the puppy is going to be. Instead of a vague hope that maybe it won't be too bad, I'll know that certain death is about to occur. So please, alert the electric companies, the gas companies, the schools, the hospitals. But leave me be.

I'd rather stay oblivious, thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Oh my god, it’s Pericles!

After three years in Greece, I am still having a hard time dealing with Greek names. Not because they are unusual or intricately spelled, but because many Greeks share their names with well-known players in ancient Greek history. Epic heroes, tragic characters, gods, goddesses, erudite philosophers, and favorite playwrights all walk the streets of Greece in relative obscurity.

My husband’s uncle is named Socrates*, and after taking a few minutes to get used to that, I found θειος Σωκρατης to completely live up to his name. He is a professor, and he dresses and looks the part. Ok, that I can deal with. I am relatively used to all the Aristotles as well, thanks to Aristotle Onassis. But the Achilles’, Odysseus’, Antigones, and Iphigenias really make me do a double take.

Now I understand it is not due to obnoxiousness on their parents’ part that people have these names. The naming convention is relatively simple in Greece, and most families still seem to utilize it. Basically, the first son is named after the paternal grandfather, the first daughter after the paternal grandmother, second son after the maternal grandfather, second daughter after the maternal grandmother. After that I guess it is pretty much a grab bag, so while it is possible someone might go for an Ajax or Aristophanes without it being a family name, it is doubtful. There are much more traditional names that seem to be well loved for 3rd and 4th children.

While I think the continued passing on of family names is a nice one, I think I’d have to think twice before naming my daughter after a tragic wife (Alcestis), or my son after a heroic cuckold (Agamemnon). While these characters may be great and their deeds valiant, they suffered horrible ends. This is why, I suppose, you don’t ever see a Medea or a Clytemnestra. What would be the shortened version of Clytemnestra? Clyt? That just won’t do. Still, I'd love to meet anyone with either name. Just because.

I hate to say it, but I have a habit of stereotyping people who have “famous” names, it is hard to avoid. Every Dionysus is a drinking, partying, peace-loving hippie and every Cassandra an ignored prophetess due to die tragically at the hands of her captor. Some guy named Pericles won a performance reality show (somewhat like American Idol, I guess) and I thought I wouldn’t stop laughing. He was nothing like the Pericles I’d imagined. To the Greeks I suppose these names aren’t very unusual, and most of them probably give little thought to their namesake aside from family history and childhood stories, but to me, they are cause for amusement.

My husband’s parents have relatively low impact names. My father-in-law has a name I have never heard before, nor can I seem to pronounce it correctly. That might make it difficult should we ever have a son, but I’m sure I’ll wrap my tongue around it eventually. My mother-in-law has a really delightful name, it is the same as one of the Muses, but since we normally think of the Muses as “the Muses” and not by individual names, I had never heard it before. Of course, she hates her name. And by hates I mean loathes. And by loathes I mean she told us she would disown us if we named our daughter after her. Which is too bad, because if we ever do have a daughter, she is getting the name. I guess we’ll just have to be disowned.

I suppose someday I’ll get used to it. Until then, watch out Heracles. I might just have a few labors for you.

*For the record I am using American/English spellings for these names, as the Greeks who frequent here already know what I am talking about, and I don’t want to confuse anyone else

Greeks are super freakin'

In the Durex condom 2005 Global Sex Survey, Greeks were found to be the most active lovers, having sex 138 times a year, well "beating" out the average of 103 times a year.

Well, duh! Why do you think I married one?

The Japanese are the worst, with an average of 45 times a year. Ouch.

Men complain the most about the lack of frequency of sex, and the global average age for first time sex is 17.3. That seems young still, but I guess it is no surprise that teenagers have sex. I guess it could be worse, although amongst 16-20 year olds the average age for losing virginity was 16.3.

Half of all adults globally admit to having unprotected sex without knowing their partner's sexual history. Yeeshk. 70% of Greeks report having unprotected sex. I guess they are too busy having sex to put a condom on. One in ten adults report having had a sexually transmitted infection. So wear a condom already!!!

Globally, people have had an average of 9 sexual partners, while Turks come in with the most, at 14.5 partners. Greeks have an average of 10.6 partners, coming in just under the U.S. with an average of 10.7 partners. The lowest was India, with an average of 3 partners. No wonder they have to watch porn instead of news!

15% of Greeks admit to having had an extra marital affair, while a whopping 58% of Turks admit the same, the highest worldwide. Yowsa! Only 17% of Americans admit it...if they are all telling the truth.

317,000 people in 41 countries participated in the survey, which is a small number of people overall, so I wouldn't take too much heart in the results. Except for the fact that Greeks are the most prolific lovers. We all know that is true!

When you know your husband is on to you

ME: Can we see if that box will fit in the trash bag in the hallway?

THE HUSBAND: Yes, I will see if that box will fit in the trash bag in the hallway.

Oops, busted!

Ah well, I may be busted, but it works every time.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The nightly news!

From the oops files:

A television network in India surprised viewers by showing a Russian porn movie instead of the daily news. Many people were infuriated, demanding that those responsible are fired, and blaming the technicians for watching porn on the job.

The lesson in this story? Watch where you put your porn, boys. You never know where it might end up.

The actions of the few ruin it for all every damn time

So the rioting in Paris has escalated to include many suburbs and cities. Denmark has had it's own problems. Germany and Belgium are reporting arsons they are not yet sure are related to the riotous activity.

Apparently, this sort of activity is not overly unusual in these predominantly immigrant, poor Paris suburbs, what is unusual is the length of time and the pandemic spread of the rioting. This blog of an American in Paris has some insightful details on the horrific events.

A fatwa has been issued by the Union of Islamic Organizations in France:

"It is formally forbidden to all Muslims seeking satisfaction and divine grace to participate in any action that blindly strikes private or public goods or that could threaten anyone's life."

It seems to have had little effect. And I am not surprised. Is this battle really a religious one? Are these Muslims fighting for their religious way of life, or are they fighting against the poverty, joblessness, and bereft lifestyles they are living?

One of the Greek news channels did a story about Greece's concerns for the spread of rioting here. They interviewed several Muslims and other immigrants, and their main complaints were lack of work, too much work for little reward, cost of living too expensive, hard to make ends meet. Well, slap my ass and call me Judy! Welcome to capitalism my immigrant friends! Don't tell me you immigrated to Point X (which could be anywhere in Western Europe or America) and expected life to be easy, full of money and promise and opportunity. This is what life is like for most of us just about everywhere in the Western world. Sure, there are people who get very rich. Most of us don't. But guess what, we are basically happy with our lot. We struggle, we save, we make ends meet, barely sometimes. But this is life. Noone ever made any promises otherwise.

I don't have a problem with immigration. I don't have a problem with Islam, except for the fundamentalists, and I feel pretty much the same way about the fundamentalists of any religion.
I do have a problem with immigrants expecting a golden cup and silver spoons when they arrive in a new country. Life just isn't like that. Getting work isn't easy for the educated these days, let alone the working class.

Obviously, the problems in France are deeper than just a couple of kids who got electrocuted climbing over a fence. But the actions of these few (a good many few, but few nonetheless) are not only ruining the lives of their so-called "oppressors" but also the lives of the people who are just like them. The actions of these few are ruining the chances for Muslim acceptance in Europe and America. The actions of these few are ruining whatever tolerance people had left for immigration and multiculturalism in Europe. Good job guys. The nationalistic right may just end up with their white Europe after all this is finished.

Monday, November 07, 2005

My kingdom for a good horror movie

And I am not talking about a classic horror movie. There are plenty of them out there and I've seen most of them and while I can still enjoy them, my heart's desire is a brand spanking new horror/suspense/thriller that really terrifies me.

My husband rented White Noise on the way home today, it is a movie we wanted to watch but didn't have high hopes that it would be great. Now here is a movie that has a nice, spooky premise from which to build a good story...and instead of doing that, it circled the drain. It flopped, in a most disappointing way. The really bad thing about it was it started out fine, had some potential, but as with every new horror/suspense/thriller we've seen of late, it falters on the outcome.

Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, find me a good horror movie! I need to be terrified, thrilled, held in suspense, and satisfied.

Weather or not

So the weather here in sunny Northern Greece has gotten colder. People are scurrying about the streets in winter coats, gloves, hats, scarves, and other cold weather attire. Some people are even electing to suit up before going out on their balconies for simple tasks. It must be freezing outside, right?

Nope. The temperatures during the last few days, which have been relatively sunny, have been in the mid-60's (I suppose around 18° Celsius). Sure, it is jacket weather, and it does turn a bit chilly overnight (upper-40's), but I have to wonder if the denizens of this burg could survive in Nashville.

I have often thought that the climate here in Thessaloniki is fairly similar to that of Nashville, except for the large temperature swings that seem to occur in Nashville at the change of season (90° to 60°, back up to 85° again, then down to 40°). But the winters seem to have similar temperatures, and the fall weather is similar, although perhaps a bit more pleasant here longer (in my opinion, at least, the current temperatures are my ideal). It is terribly unlikely you'll see an 80° (or higher) day here after mid-October, while in Nashville, you can still suffer. But you aren't going to see temperatures below 45° or so at night, either, until late November or December, while in Nashville, you can have your first frost in October. Anything goes there.

Rarely does it get mortifyingly cold here. I can remember plenty of Nashville winters that the temperatures fell well into the 20's (or lower) for long periods at a time. How the snow and ice wouldn't melt away because the temperatures were staying too cold even for the salt to work. Thessaloniki residents would surely die before that would happen. I mean, if they are wearing their winter coats now, what will they wear when it is freezing out?

Me, I'm still comfortable in a sweater, for now. Since I haven't yet faced an entire Thessaloniki winter, we'll see what happens. But I bet I won't get as cold as I have in Nashville. Of course, at my wise age, I'm not stupid enough to go out partying when it is 17° F out. I wasn't so wise 15 years ago.

Beware of drunk drivers...on wheelchairs

A disabled German man was penalized for speeding in his electric wheelchair while drunk. I am not exactly how fast an electric wheelchair can go, but I suppose driving anything while drunk can be a danger.

This was the fourth offense for the poor man, who claims he drinks 10 to 12 beers a day (I suppose it is extreme, but I've seen worse). The judge fined him one thousand euros and banned him from using his electric wheelchair for three months. He'll have to learn how to get speedy with a regular wheelchair, for now.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Any given Sunday

Today has been all about napping, cuddling, watching X-Files, making a pot of chili and playing with my new DVD burner.

Sundays are gooooooood.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Sperm for sale

In what has to be a joke, a website that sells all the Vincent Gallo merchandise you could ever want has offered his sperm for sale at a cost $1 million. If the purchaser would prefer natural insemination, the cost is $500,000 extra.

Mr. Gallo is 5'11" and has blue eyes. There are no known genetic deformities in his ancestry (no cripples) and no history of congenital diseases. If you have seen The Brown Bunny, you know the potential size of the genitals if it's a boy. (8 inches if he's like his father.)

Well, isn't that special. Yes, I'd like my baby boy to have a huge schlong. That is what I am looking for in my offspring.

Mr. Gallo maintains the right to refuse sale of his sperm to those of extremely dark complexions. Though a fan of Franco Harris, Derek Jeter, Lenny Kravitz and Lena Horne, Mr. Gallo does not want to be part of that type of integration. In fact, for the next 30 days, he is offering a $50,000 discount to any potential female purchaser who can prove she has naturally blonde hair and blue eyes. Anyone who can prove a direct family link to any of the German soldiers of the mid-century will also receive this discount.

Ah, and a white supremacist to boot! Now, Vincent Gallo hasn't impressed me in general with his talent. I mean, I enjoyed Buffalo 66 and all, but I have to wonder why he just doesn't get a girlfriend and have his own kid? I heard the Prussian Blue twins were available...

I'm still banking on this being a joke. Otherwise, it would seem all of Hollywood is following Mr. Cruise right to the funny farm.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Oh, the randomness

The war of the sheets

My husband and I are encountering what must be an age old problem in the bedroom: to tuck or not to tuck?

I happen to like my bed covers tucked in at the foot of the bed. It keeps my feet from getting cold, and keeps the covers in a tidy manner, so you don't end up with too much sheet and not enough blanket, and vice versa. It is very handy for making the bed in the morning.

My husband is a huge proponent of leaving things untucked. He says he likes to coccoon himself in the covers, which if you ask me, is quite rude and selfish for someone who shares a bed. His feet work of their own free will to untuck the bed throughout the night, and inevitably I will wake up with cold feet. Why? Because the bed is untucked!

We came to a compromise, I tuck my side of the bed and leave his untucked, but that never works, because somehow those busy feet find their way to untucking my side of the bed. I'm getting tired of waking up with cold feet, especially now that winter is coming.

I'm not sure what a girl is supposed to do, or if we will ever find a peaceful solution to this problem. But for now, it is all out war! We'll see how hubby likes it when I short sheet the bed...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

This woman's work

It is not my intent in this blog to repeat myself or rehash subjects I have already discussed, and that have already been discussed so eloquently on blogs like Sappho’s Manifesto, Tennessee Guerilla Women, and Bitch, PhD. Yet I feel, in light of discussions I have had with my husband and the opinions of others on this matter, that perhaps I should make some things clear in regards to why I believe is not ok for the law to dictate that a woman must inform her husband that she is having an abortion.

My husband, and many others, tend to mock the decree of “our body, our choice”, and other such feminist claims. At least in the case of my husband, I don’t think he is being cruel, but he feels that where a baby is concerned, a husband, or even a boyfriend, should have some rights too. As I said before, I think it is immoral for a woman who is in a good marriage to have an abortion and keep it hidden from her husband. Yet there are cases where a woman has to make a choice to have an abortion for the protection of herself and her unborn child. The most obvious case is when the wife is abused -physically, mentally, or both – and these are the women we have to protect. Bitch, PhD does a really good job of covering the ground here, but in simple terms, Judge Alito felt that while some women are abused, most women are not. Thus, the law requiring a woman to inform her husband of her intent to have an abortion does not cause an “undue burden” for “most” women. Why does this upset me? Because of the danger and possible consequences to “some” women. Not to mention I’m afraid that if we really looked at the truth of the world, we’d find a hell of a lot more women are abused in some way by their husbands than statistics tell us.

My husband’s reply to this was “she should just get out”. Get and out and go where? Getting out of an abusive relationship isn’t easy when you have family and friends willing to help you, what about those women who have no one and nothing? Not to mention the strength of the vows that a woman has made for better or for worse, and the apologies that come, sometimes with presents. Do you really think it is easy for these women, when they find themselves pregnant, to make a decision to have an abortion? Do you think it is easy for them to hide it from their husbands? Do you think it pleases them in any way whatsoever? Would any caring, loving person want to force this woman to confide in her husband, and end up plagued by a life of abuse, possibly even sentencing the child to a lifetime of abuse? Is that really the better choice here? Because the reality is, once the child comes there is little chance the woman and the child will get out of the abusive home. And we all know that children who grow up witnessing abuse or being abused themselves often grow up to be abusers as well. So no, Mr. Alito, I don’t think your decision was moral OR right. It isn’t a balance between “some” and “most”. If it is even one, that one must be protected.

This is just one type of circumstance. There are many others that may or may not justify a woman keeping an abortion to herself. Either way, if a woman feels that it should be her decision, and her decision alone, she has to have that right. She can’t be told by law that she doesn’t. And the law doesn’t fully understand the consequences in any circumstance. The law doesn’t care about the consequences. The law would only care that you notify your husband. WE MUST PROTECT THESE WOMEN.

When it comes to women’s rights, I’m afraid we can’t give an inch, a millimeter, in our fight. It wasn’t until 85 years ago that women had the right to vote in America. 85 years – a relatively short time. Four generations may have come in that time, but there are some from that first generation who are still alive. As recently as the 1950’s, women were still regulated to the position of wife and mother, housekeeper, servant. Women were taught to respect and obey their fathers and their husbands. Even educated women were on the fast track to marriage and home life. It was such an irony, how women kept America running during World War II, only to be sent home again. I can’t entirely blame the men, it seems there was a great lack of communication. Men either didn’t think about what their wives wanted, or they assumed they had what they wanted. Women themselves probably didn’t even realize that they were allowed to want something other than the role of housewife. I am the first to accept that some women really did want this life. But others didn’t. And so by the 60’s, women’s voices started to get louder, and louder, and today, we have some rights, some assurances. We are allowed to make our own choices and do what we want. But we cannot go backwards. We cannot take a misstep. The foot may be poised to take a step backwards, but we cannot let it hit the ground, lest it take us back too far.

So yes, I suppose to some extent I am a feminist. I believe that women are smart, beautiful, and capable of whatever they want. I believe a woman’s choices are difficult, heartbreaking, but they must be their own. I believe we must protect women’s choices and women’s rights. And I swear, by my life and my love of it, I will not let that foot go down.

I'm so proud

Fun searches for the last week include:

  • girls on all fours (yep, you'll find that here)
  • "olympian gods" and pumpkin carving patterns (damn, I'd like to see THOSE pumpkins, if they succeeded)
  • are slavic macedonians descendants of alexander the great (can open, worms EVERYWHERE)
  • website eat acts picture (huh?)
  • sperm in to vagena (if you can't spell it right, you don't deserve to see it)
  • nagging wife (oh, thats ME!)
  • as i lay dying "my mother is a fish" (read the book, then write your report)
And the number one web search this week...

  • national boob and beer holiday (celebrate at will, people)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

America's youth

I am the first one to admit I did plenty of stupid things as a kid. We took risks sometimes, but that usually meant riding two to a bike going down the street screaming "bloody murder" or climbing the tallest branch of a tree. And I know plenty of teenagers, when they get their driver's licenses, do stupid things in cars, but that has been going on pretty much since cars were invented.

But this type of behavior is beyond disturbing on so many levels, I'm not sure where to begin.

Boulder Valley school officials are worried about a new game sweeping the nation's middle schools.

It is called the "choking game" or "pass-out game" and it has resulted in at least eight deaths nationally.

The game is played by squeezing or putting pressure on another student's neck or chest to cut the flow of oxygen. It results in a feeling of lightheadedness. Once the pressure is released the player gets a brief rush after the blood flows back to the brain.

Seriously kids, where did you come up with this? Honestly, it would be better for you to smoke marijuana than to pull this kind of stunt. This is so unbelieveably stupid, there are no words to describe how stupid it is. And lets not even get into the quasi-sexual intimations at play here. Is America breeding a nation full of autoerotic aspyxiation enthusiasts?

It really saddens me. I mean, do kids need a rush this bad? Can't they just, like, stand up really, really fast? Adults enjoy that all the time. And why do kids need to go off doing things like this instead of just being kids? Being a kid was fun. Even being a teenager was fun. There are things you can do as a kid that you can't do as an adult. You don't need to waste your time coming up with asinine ways to get a rush.

I hope this is a fad that soon passes. And I hope whatever fad that replaces it isn't just as bad, or worse. Obviously, we need to pay more attention to what our children are doing. Otherwise we may not have any children to pay attention to.